Author Archives: S.P.

Ordinary, Yet Spirit-Filled

On this Lord’s Day we remember that great day of Pentecost, where God graciously poured out His Spirit on the Church and anointed Peter to proclaim the gospel to the nations gathered in Jerusalem. 

And the question I want to consider this morning is this: What follows Pentecost? What does it look like to live a Spirit-filled life? Does it involve seeking out new Pentecost-like experiences, or is there something else we should be doing? 

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We Are Not Orphans

While Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with His disciples, he patiently prepared them for His coming departure. Leading up to this, He had began to teach on His death which deeply troubled and confused them, and so He gave them various promises in order to encourage their hearts for the dark days ahead. Central to these promises was that Jesus would pray to the Father, asking Him to give His disciples another Helper—the Holy Spirit. 

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Ascended with Christ

In our Lord’s incarnation, God and man were forever united.

As the Creeds confess – the second Person of the Trinity, the Son eternally begotten of the Father, came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and of the virgin Mary.

Our God was made man. 

He took on flesh, and in that flesh he was crucified, died, and was buried. In that same body, He was resurrected and glorified, and on this day we celebrate His ascension into Heaven. 

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A Trinitarian Celebration

As orthodox Christians, one our most essential beliefs is that we worship a Triune God. We confess that there is only one true and living God, and He eternally exists in three persons—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As Martin Luther summarized this doctrine, “We believe the divine majesty to be three distinct persons of one true essence.” 

Here at this Table we primarily focus our attention on the Son, and rightly so, for here is bread and wine which are Christ’s body and blood. But this is also a Triune meal – all Persons of the Godhead are inseparably involved.

Here we are reminded that the Father chose us before the foundation of the world and has graciously adopted us into His family. 

Here we see the Son’s body broken and His blood shed for us and we are invited to partake of Him in order to have our faith encouraged. 

And here the Holy Spirit communicates Christ’s presence to us and seals the benefits of this sacrament to our hearts.

In this Trinitarian celebration, when you partake of Christ, you are participating in the life of the Holy Trinity. God is joyfully inviting You to Himself – to feast on the abundance of His house and to drink from His river of delights. 

So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.

Die Before You Die

This exhortation was given at King’s Cross Church (Moscow, ID) on May 7, AD 2023.

There once was a faithful preacher who ministered for thirty years in a small Missouri town. Over the course of his ministry, he submitted to the local paper about three hundred Letters to the Editor. As he neared the end of his life, suffering from pancreatic cancer, he wrote one final farewell to his town which said this: “Indeed, the one great thing in life is to be ready to die. It is simple, but big.” 

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Children, Be Like Jesus

We know nothing about the childhood of Jesus except for Luke’s account of the time He went missing.

Jesus was twelve, and instead of traveling back home from Jerusalem with his parents and the rest of the pilgrims, he decided to stay back and hang out in the Temple with the teachers. By the time Mary and Joseph found Him, he had spent three days there listening, asking questions, and astonishing His hearers with His understanding and answers. When Mary anxiously asked Him what He was doing, He simply responded, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Lk. 2:49). He then went back home with them, and Luke tells us He continued to grow in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and men.

Now there is a great lesson here for our children in the example of the boy Jesus.  

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Unti He Comes

As we conclude our celebration of the Lord’s Supper each week, we hear the words of St Paul to the Corinthians – “for as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you do proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). 

This morning I want us to meditate on Paul’s last three words here – until He comes. With this orienting statement, the Apostle Paul is teaching that this sacrament is not simply about looking back at our Lord’s death. Rather, in more ways than one, this is an eschatological meal.

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Our Good Shepherd

This communion meditation was given at King’s Cross Church (Moscow, ID) on March 12, AD 2023.

In Psalm 23, we have a wonderful depiction of our Lord’s faithfulness to us as our Good Shepherd.

Because He is our Shepherd, we lack no good thing. He provides for all of our needs – giving us rest in green pastures and leading us beside still waters. He has brought us into His fold and now He makes it His chief business to protect and guide us. 

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Missional Families

This exhortation was given at King’s Cross Church (Moscow, ID) on March 12, AD 2023.

In a community like ours with a strong emphasis on the family, one of our temptations is to become insular

By insular, I mean that either in our own families themselves, or in our own circle of friends, we can become primarily inward facing — neglecting outreach to others.

The solution to this is not to abandon our God-given duties toward our spouse and children. Nor is it to neglect God’s gift of sweet fellowship with close friends. Rather, it’s to invite people in to the life of our families. It’s to practice hospitality – a missional hospitality directed toward those you don’t know all that well yet – whether they are a new family in our church or your unbelieving neighbors. 

This hospitality is not one that interrupts our family time – but instead becomes a routine part of it.

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